Pre-Mommy Hood, I was a high school English Teacher, and I can tell you that poetry doesn’t exactly take priority in the curriculum.
Luckily, nothing goes better with Valentine’s Day than poetry which was why as a teacher, I LOVED Valentine’s Day.
Each year I came up with a special lesson plan for Valentine’s Day. I’d choose one or two of the great love poems; we’d read them together, discuss them, and then my students would engage in a Valentine’s Day themed activity using the poem in some way. Looking back, these days of enjoying poetry with my students are some of my fondest memories of teaching.
I decided to recreate that experience in a new tradition with my now three year old son and chose as inspiration Shakespeare’s sonnet 18 “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day…”
Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 Project:
This project is easy as can be, and I’ll bet you already have all of the supplies! We’re only using the first three lines of the poem for the inspiration of this craft:
“Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s Day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds to shake the darling buds of May…”
Translation: You (my valentine) are far more beautiful and even-tempered than even a Summer’s day because after all, strong winds can shake the delicate flowers, which began to bud in May.
Great stuff, right?
I wanted a really tangible representation of these lines for my little one, so what better than a handprint tree and little ‘darling bud’ fingerprints?
*Green Paint for the handprint leaves of the trees
*Pink, Purple, Red, or Yellow paint for the fingerprint buds (we chose red)
*Brown paint and paint brush
1. I started by reading my son the lines and showing him pictures on my phone of flowering trees, then I wrote the verse in a black sharpie on the top on the page.
2. We poured our different colored paint into separate paper dishes.
3. Next, my boy squished his hand directly into the green paint then with a paint brush, we touched- up the areas on his hand without paint.
4. Have your child ‘give high fives’ to the top of the paper in order to create the tree leaves.
5. Wash and dry his/her hand.
6. Next, create your ‘darling buds’ by having your child dip his/her ‘number one’ finger into the paint color of choice and dot throughout the leaves.
Note: Don’t stress about making a perfect tree! The more ‘imperfect’ it is, the more precious it will be. As you can see, we have some falling leaves and buds…and I love it!
7. Lastly, have your child help you paint in the rest of the tree with brown paint and a paint brush
In a few fun steps, you have your own Shakespearean keepsake tree!